In many countries, people remember St. Patrick on the 17th of March. This vintage greeting card depicts an artist's interpretation of St. Patrick in his younger years. "Erin Go Bragh" is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic phrase Éirinn go Brách which means, in English, "Ireland Forever."
It is believed St. Patrick died in Downpatrick (in what is now Northern Ireland) on the 17th of March. The year is entirely uncertain, ranging (according to various sources) from 461 to 492. His religious feast day - commemorating the likely day of his death - became a modern secular holiday.
In 1766, ten years before Britain's colonies in America declared their independence, Irish immigrants held the first official St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City. (An unofficial march was organized in 1762.)
Currently, people in some cities and towns dye their rivers and streams "green" to celebrate the day. Chicagoans even do that to the Chicago River.
People all over the world become “Irish for a day,” in honor of St. Patrick’s memory. Some individuals make pilgrimages, including to a place in Ireland which Patrick thought might be an earthly version of purgatory. Nothing, however, compares to festivities in Dublin where St. Patrick’s Festival lasts for days.
St. Patrick left some words for those who remember him. Humble to the end, he credited himself with nothing, except being the receiver of God’s gifts and grace. He wished:
...that nobody shall ever ascribe to my ignorance any trivial thing that I achieved or may have expounded that was pleasing to God, but accept and truly believe that it would have been the gift of God. (The Confession of St. Patrick, point 62, available for online viewing at Readings in Church History, edited by Jonathan Marshall, at page 162.)
We close this story with a song St. Patrick may well have enjoyed, were he alive today. It is performed by someone who, like the saint himself, became far better known after death.
You’ll remember me ...
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